The Detroit Red Wings, parent club of the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins, have announced the signings of longtime Grand Rapids Griffins goaltender Joey MacDonald and veteran forwards Jamie Johnson and Chris Minard.
Already one of the greatest goaltenders in Griffins franchise history, the 30-year-old MacDonald returns to the organization for which he starred from 2002-07. His 16 shutouts still rank first on Grand Rapids’ all-time list, while his career totals of 164 goaltender games played, 9208:13 minutes played, 88 wins and 4,251 saves stand second behind only current Red Wings netminder Jimmy Howard. In addition, his 0.921 save percentage ties for third in club annals while his 2.37 goals against average ranks sixth.
MacDonald continues to possess Grand Rapids’ single-season records for goaltender games played (AHL-high 66 in 2004-05), starts (64 in 2004-05), minutes played (AHL-high 3754:40 in 2004-05), wins (tied, 34 in 2004-05), shutouts (tied, six in 2003-04), saves (1,785 in 2004-05) and save percentage (0.936 in 2003-04), while his 1.97 GAA from 2003-04 stands as the second-lowest in the Griffins’ 14 seasons.
MacDonald also owns the franchise marks for consecutive starts (24 in 2004-05), consecutive goaltender games played (31 in 2004-05), longest road winning streak (nine in 2002-03), saves in a period (tied, 24 in 2004-05) and home shutout streak (242:18 in 2003-04, when he became the only Griffin to post three straight shutouts at Van Andel Arena).
During the 2002-03 season, MacDonald and teammate Marc Lamothe shared the AHL’s Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award for outstanding team goaltending. Other honors during his Griffins tenure included a spot in the 2005 AHL All-Star Classic, an AHL Player of the Week nod (Feb. 16, 2004), and the Griffins’ 2004-05 AHL Man of the Year award.
After making his NHL debut in eight games with the Red Wings during the 2006-07 season, MacDonald was claimed on waivers and finished the year in Boston. He then spent two years in the New York Islanders’ organization, including the entire 2008-09 campaign in the NHL when he appeared in 49 games, posted a 0.901 save percentage and earned his lone NHL shutout, a 42-save, 2-0 win over Detroit on March 27, 2009 at Joe Louis Arena. He was also named the NHL’s Third Star of the Month for November 2008, when he tied for the league lead in wins (8-5-1) and compiled a 2.64 GAA and a 0.916 save percentage.
Last season, MacDonald split time between Toronto’s NHL and AHL clubs, posting a 1-4-0 mark, a 3.20 GAA and a 0.892 save percentage in six appearances with the Maple Leafs, and going 14-19-3 with two shutouts, a 3.18 GAA and a 0.893 save percentage in 36 games with the Marlies. He was traded by Toronto to Anaheim on March 3 in exchange for a seventh-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft but did not appear in any contests for the Ducks.
Johnson, 28, is coming off a career season with Rochester in 2009-10, as he led the Americans and tied for 11th in AHL scoring with 71 points in 80 games. He also placed among the circuit’s leaders with 27 goals (T18th) and 44 assists (T14th), leading Rochester to a second-place finish in the North Division.
Prior to spending the 2008-09 season in Finland with TPS Turku, Johnson also paced the AHL’s Albany River Rats in scoring during the 2007-08 campaign, totaling 58 points (21-37—58) in 79 contests.
Over 269 career AHL appearances, Johnson shows 186 points (63-123—186) and 96 penalty minutes
Minard, 28, has been a point-per-game player in the AHL during the last two seasons, contributing 95 points (56-39—95) over 94 games with the Springfield Falcons (2009-10) and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (2008-09). A starter for the Canadian All-Star Team at the 2009 AHL All-Star Classic, he has appeared in 253 career AHL games, totaling 205 points (120-85—205) and 145 PIM.
After helping Wilkes-Barre/Scranton reach the 2008 Calder Cup Finals, Minard enjoyed his most productive AHL campaign the following season, logging 34 goals and 57 points in just 54 games with the Penguins.
A 2004-05 ECHL First Team All-Star when he ranked first in the league with 49 goals and fourth with 78 points, Minard capped off his ECHL career by winning a Kelly Cup with the Alaska Aces in 2005-06, then made his NHL debut in 15 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins during 2007-08.
He appeared in a career-high 20 NHL games with the Penguins during their Stanley Cup season of 2008-09, contributing three points (1-2—3), then tallied one assist in five appearances with the Edmonton Oilers last season, giving him 40 games and six points (2-4—6) on his NHL resume.